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Centerstone Hotels Selects Whiteboard Labs for CRS, GDS

Centerstone Inns, Hotels, and Plaza Hotels, hospitality's newest three-tier brand, has partnered with Houston-based Whiteboard Labs to provide distribution technology, including its Windsurfer Central Reservations System and "The Ultimate Booking Experience" (TUBE). As part of the agreement, Whiteboard Labs will provide GDS connectivity, voice reservations, Web design, and e-marketing opportunities designed to showcase properties using multi-image and video platforms.
"Whiteboard Labs is a natural fit for the Centerstone brand," says Neal Jackson, Centerstone president. "Not only did the company come highly recommended, but after an exhaustive search we found the Windsurfer CRS to be the best possible solution to help us customize content, process reservations and make it easy for us to sell our three products. As we ramp up this new hotel chain, we are confident that Whiteboard Labs and the Windsurfer CRS will quickly bring us into the digital 'now,' and in turn, bring customers to our doors."
Centerstone is a three-segment brand developed by hoteliers to remove any unreasonable mandates on franchisees. It features a low cost of entry, low fee structure, short-term agreements, Internet marketing support, a dynamic reservation system.
"One of the many things that makes Centerstone hotels unique is that as a brand, we do not mark-up the reservation fees," says Steve Belmonte, Centerstone CEO and owner. "Many brands add on a mark-up administration fee, but we don't think the reservation center should be a profit center. That is one of the many ways that Centerstone is so different from other franchise companies. Instead, we pass the direct savings on to the hotel owner -- and this mentality is adapted throughout much of what we do. The Windsurfer CRS will enable guests and hotel owners to use web-based tools -- including mobile apps -- to truly achieve 'The Ultimate Booking Experience.'"
Contribution reports at your fingertips
Belmonte explains that by simply downloading an iPhone app, Centerstone hotel owners using Windsurfer will have on-the-go access to reports generated via the CRS. Now owners can see at a moment's notice just how much business their Centerstone franchise is generating, and at which rates, and through which channels.
"While many franchise companies do not volunteer what they are actually contributing through the RES system, Centerstone is so confident of its performance that we share our contribution frequently with the hotel owners and managers and give them additional information, such as rates, method of deliverance, etc.," says Belmonte. "We want our owners to know that we are out there marketing via the Internet for them daily to maximize every opportunity to capture reservations and revenue.”
Multiple integration ports mean higher conversion rates
Whiteboard Labs’ Windsurfer technology is integrated with mobile devices, including iPhone, iPads and also Facebook apps, enabling hotels to capture reservations wherever their guests may be and however their guests are most comfortable making those reservations. The end result is higher conversion rates and happier guests. By providing today's travelers with 'The Ultimate Booking Experience' or TUBE they are visually creating an itinerary for their booking.
TUBE is a flash-based interface that allows guests to go through a regular booking process while creating it as an itinerary, Rosser explained. The system supports the ability for the hotel to merchandise its services and amenities for a more overall enhanced guest experience. The new iPad version of TUBE, which can be branded for each hotel, works in both portrait and landscape orientations, adjusting the layout as the user rotates the iPad. Among other features, the carousel of room images allows the user to browse rooms by responding to swipe gestures and check-in / check-out dates can be selected from a touchable calendar.
"There are so many cool features within the Windsurfer CRS," says Jackson. "We love that any owner can log-in at any time -- and in a variety of ways -- to see how his or her hotel is performing. In the very near future, owners will be able to alter rates, change close-out dates and manage their inventory from any mobile device and from anywhere in the world. It's a fantastic way to stay on top of performance.”
Likewise, TUBE enables each hotel to up-sell additional amenities to guests after the room and rate have been selected. "When a traveler makes a reservation online and hits the 'submit' button, for example, a pop-up notifies the user that the hotel has other promotions and amenities available that the person may be interested in, such as making a dinner reservation, scheduling a golf tee time or booking a spa appointment. It gives the hotel one more opportunity to sell its services even before the guest arrives at the hotel. It's a great system, and we are delighted to roll it out to our hotels," adds Jackson.

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